Appointments Museums USA

Cleveland museum seeks new director

David Franklin announces his surprise resignation

David Franklin

The Cleveland Museum of Art is looking for a new director after David Franklin's resignation, which was announced yesterday, 21 October. The news, which will take many by surprise, comes as the institution is nearing the completion of a multi-million-dollar expansion. Franklin, who arrived in Cleveland in 2010, from the National Gallery of Canada, where he was the deputy director, said in a statement: “Over the past few months, I have concluded that it’s time to spend more time on research and writing.” He will work with the interim director, Fred Bidwell, to achieve a smooth transition, and become a consultant on the museum’s special projects. These include an exhibition “Exporting Florence”, which is due to open in October 2014.

As Cleveland’s director, Franklin was a successful fundraiser, steering the institution through the post-2008 recession, which saw the value of US museums’ endowments fall. The institution continued to co-organise high-profile international exhibitions, such as “Treasures of Heaven” featuring Medieval religious art and relics with the British Museum and Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. This summer, he rescued the Cleveland leg of “Sicily: Art and Invention Between Greece and Rome” (until 5 January 2014), a show that looked in jeopardy when the Sicilian authorities threatened to withdraw loans.

Fred Bidwell, the interim director, is a museum trustee, with a background in photography and advertising. He and his wife opened The Transformer Station in Cleveland last year, a space for contemporary art and photography where the Cleveland Museum of Art organises exhibitions for part of the year.

Update: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Franklin's relationship with a former employee, who died in April, led to his resignation.

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